The Bay is facing some strong criticism online for using a Black woman’s image without her permission in a campaign meant to support empowerment opportunities and employment for BIPOC communities.
Hadiya Roderique, a lawyer and advocate for diversity and inclusion, took to Twitter on Monday to call out the department store.
“Hey @hudsonsbay, it would have been a good idea for you to get my permission to use my face and associated activism to solicit donations “to support employment and empowerment of IBPOC”, no? I would also bet a million dollars that person responsible for this did not realize that I am A LAWYER.”Hadiya Roderique, lawyer
Hey @hudsonsbay, it would have been a good idea for you to get my permission to use my face and associated activism to solicit donations “to support employment and empowerment of IBPOC”, no? pic.twitter.com/uuBasqDN7N
— Hadiya Roderique (@hadiyaroderique) July 5, 2021
The image of Roderique was featured on a placard promoting the Hudson Bay’s Charter for Change foundation initiatives, which supports “education, employment and empowerment opportunities for Indigenous People, Black People and People of Colour across the Country.”
Launched earlier this year, the campaign has earmarked $30 million over the next 10 years to “accelerate racial equity in communities across Canada” in an attempt to reconcile the 351-year-old company’s “past and is committed to change for a more equitable future for all.”
The photo of Roderique used in the campaign was originally taken for a 2017 Globe and Mail essay she had written about the challenges of fitting in on Bay Street as a Black lawyer. In a follow-up tweet, Roderique clarified that the photo used in The Bay’s campaign wasn’t licensed from the photographer or the photographer’s agency, whose policy is to get permission and approval from subjects.
The Bay responded to Roderique’s tweet with an apology.
@hadiyaroderique This image was used by mistake - we deeply regret the error and are reaching out directly to explain and correct.
— Hudson's Bay (@hudsonsbay) July 5, 2021
“This image was used by mistake - we deeply regret the error and are reaching out directly to explain and correct,” they wrote.
On Twitter, people expressed their feelings about the flub.
Taking things without asking since around 1774.
— Claire Cameron (@clairecameron) July 5, 2021
The error was using the first image that you searched without considering the implications of what you were doing. Plus, why are you asking consumers to hand you free money when you've got millions of profits that you could use for good but instead go to dividends?
— Colin (@InfiNorth) July 5, 2021
The hudsonsbay social media manager right now: pic.twitter.com/z65pbbux5Z
— CarlySunlit (@CarlySunlit) July 5, 2021
It’s so laughable that they say this was a mistake. As a company that shoots campaigns and catalogues you are well aware of how much it costs to use people’s images
— Rebecca-jo Dunham-Baruchel (@youthin_asia) July 5, 2021
Roderique did not respond to a request for an interview with Yahoo News Canada, but she told CBC News that she had spoken to representatives from The Bay, who “didn’t mince words and said this was completely their error.”
"That happens so often when you have Black creation, Indigenous creation, creation from other people of colour — their words, their ideas, their thoughts, their images being used by others … and not really giving attribution to the original creator," she told the outlet.
The Bay did not respond to an interview request.